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Common RFI #5: Steel Member Inadequate for Connection Reaction Shown

Do you have a shear reaction schedule on your drawings that is about to be issued for Construction? If so, see below for a tip to avoid a common RFI.

SE University is compiling examples of Common Requests for Information (RFIs) sent to the Structural Engineer of Record. Following each RFI, we provide some resource information based on experience from contributing structural engineers. We hope you will find this resource information useful as you customize it to meet your specific project needs. Tips to avoid the RFI during the design phase may also be offered.

The Common RFI presented in this post is for Steel Projects.

RFI #5: Steel member is inadequate for the connection reaction shown. Confirm connection reaction or confirm if member is to be reinforced or increased in size.

Example: You are on a project where the connection designs are delegated to a Contractor’s Engineer. You have included a Beam Reaction Table showing reactions for each beam depth family. Connection design calculations show that some of the lighter beams will require reinforcement with stiffeners or doubler plates to resist the reactions shown in the Beam Reaction Table. (This can be common in light W6, W8, or W10 beams with very thin webs, although it is likely that the actual beam reactions are less than the load shown in the Table.)

Resource Information:

To avoid this conflict, provide additional reaction values in the Beam Reaction Table for lighter beams, or upsize lighter beams (it is typically less costly to upsize a beam than to locally reinforce it).

During design, confirm that member sizes, particularly the lighter members of a beam family, are adequate to resist the posted shear forces and moments. It is prudent to do a quick check for local limit states of light beams to ensure that additional stiffeners or web doubler plates are not required. Refer to AISC 14th Ed. Specification Section J10 for additional information.

We hope this will be a helpful resource to reference best practices within the SE community. If you would like to share an RFI and reference information you have used, please add a comment below or send an email to Cathleen Jacinto.